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2020 Annual Report

Friends, partners, and supporters of public education,

Thank you for your interest in the Georgia Foundation for Public Education! GFPE is the foundation of the Georgia Department of Education, and exists for the single purpose of supporting educational excellence for students in Georgia. We provide simple ways for donors to serve students in Georgia’s K-12 system, by investing in a current GFPE project or working with GFPE to fund their vision.

In recent years, we’ve provided funding to support rural public schools, dual language immersion, disaster relief, back-to-school supplies, and more – but in March 2020, the need changed, and we needed to pivot.

The COVID-19 pandemic had an immediate impact on public schools, which were faced with creating systems for full virtual/distance learning with very little advance notice.

GFPE exists to support public schools, and that’s what we worked to do in the wake of the pandemic. Our streamlined, low-overhead organization allowed us to respond quickly and nimbly to these brand-new needs. We immediately partnered with the Innovation Fund Foundation to offer COVID-19 Response Fund grants, and with AT&T, the Georgia Governor’s Office, and the Georgia Department of Education to expand connectivity through WiFi Ranger hotspots.

Using GFPE funds, Georgia public schools offered mental health supports for their students, took virtual field trips, provided virtual summer school lessons, purchased PPE, delivered school meals to students’ homes, and more.

It is an honor to support Georgia’s public schools, and to fulfill our mission of meeting students where they are – wherever they are. If you’d like to join us in this work, please review the information in this annual report and support our efforts

With gratitude for your partnership and support,

Walt Helms, GFPE Board Chair
Paige Pushkin, GFPE Executive Director

Funds from License Tags Support Public-School Classrooms
All proceeds from the purchase of Georgia “Educator” and “Support Education” license tags directly support public-school classrooms through GFPE. Funds from the purchase of these tags allows us to support programs like Georgia Teacher of the Year, the Rural Education Fund, Dual Language Immersion, and much more. Support students in Georgia’s K-12 public schools today by purchasing a tag for your vehicle! The Simplest Way to Support – Purchase a Georgia Educator Tag! 

Pandemic Relief for Schools: COVID-19 Response Fund Grants
In March, Georgia public schools had to do the impossible – with extremely limited notice, schools shifted to full-time distance learning, many for the first time in their history.

Students needed laptops and internet access. They needed to access meals, while suddenly cut off from their school buildings. They needed mental health support, and they needed to continue learning in an entirely new environment.

To help schools fill the gaps, GFPE immediately partnered with the Innovation Fund Foundation (IFF) to stand up a brand-new grant program, the COVID-19 Response Fund. Applications opened in April 2020, and by May, 11 grants were approved, providing funds for personal protective equipment (PPE), school meals, mental health services, supplemental learning resources, and supports for at-risk students.

An additional round of funding was made possible by donations from the R. Howard Dobbs Foundation, NCR Foundation, Rotary Club of Brookhaven, and the Jesse Parker Williams Foundation, funding school and district initiatives designed to mitigate the long-term impacts of the pandemic.

Expanding Connectivity: AT&T WiFi Ranger Hotspot Grants
In the spring, as the pandemic started, an estimated 80,000 student households across the state did not have access to wireline internet services –making connectivity one of the most urgent needs facing the K-12 education system.

To expand connectivity, GFPE partnered with the Governor’s Office and the Georgia Department of Education to leverage a donation from AT&T and deploy 448 WiFi rangers to 36 school districts across the state.

The rangers were affixed to school buses to provide community-accessible mobile WiFi connectivity, with priority given to systems located in high-poverty and rural areas of the state.

“I am extremely grateful for the donation by GFPE and AT&T of WiFi Rangers,” said Chris Forrer, Superintendent of the Franklin County School System in northeast Georgia. “Whether they were used by students who were temporarily quarantined to keep up their classwork, or by students who chose to attend school virtually full-time, this donation was essential to their learning.”

Expanding Opportunities in Every School: Rural Education Fund
Launched in 2018, GFPE’s Rural Education Fund gives rural school districts – which face unique challenges and resource gaps – the flexibility to identify their area of greatest need and propose a project that will make an impact on students.

To date, we’ve awarded 63 grants to rural schools and districts totaling over $354,003.

Ready for a Global Future: Dual-Language Immersion Grants
GFPE regularly works with staff at the Georgia Department of Education to identify and fund key priorities – including Dual Language Immersion, or DLI.

DLI allows students to gain fluency in a foreign language as part of the regular school day. In Georgia DLI programs, students spend at least half of their school day in the target language, and the other half-day in English.

In 2019, GFPE provided a total of $9,555 in DLI Mini-Grants to seven public schools: Dunleith Elementary in Marietta, Brandywine Elementary in Alpharetta, Clarkdale Elementary in Austell, Brookwood School in Dalton, Norton Park Elementary in Smyrna, Haven Elementary in Savannah, and Windsor Forest Elementary in Savannah.

The grants funded key resources to supplement existing DLI programs. For example, as Dunleith Elementary rolled its program up to first grade, they needed to equip an entire classroom with Spanish instructional resources. Similarly, Brandywine Elementary used its grant funds to purchase Spanish-language books to support math, science, and social studies learning.

Donor List


Georgia Power 
Mighty Cause Corporation 


Innovation Fund Foundation 
United Way 


Cobb Community Foundation 
National Center for Youth Issues 
NCR Foundation 
Wyck & Sehll Knox Family Foundation Inc. 


Fidelity Charitable 
Davis Knox 
McMunn Family Foundation 


America’s Charities 
Pamela Buzbee 
Carol Seay 


Juan-Carlos AguilarGladys FisherIesha Parks
Amy AldermanChet ForshMahesh Pawar
Travis AllenMeghan FrickKathy Peavy
Lacey AndrewsCassandra GaulPaula Poulicek
Sharon ArmourErica GlennMartha Powers-Jones
Diana BairdAdria GriffinGeraldine Price
Ken BanterCindy HamSusan Psytic
Mary Jean BanterJames HammondMary Ream
Geronald BellMamie HansonHelen Rice
Rebecca BlantonDevonne HarperStephen Roache
Sharon BonnerWalter HelmsMichael Royal
Jessica BoothHodge Consulting Services, LLCCindy Saxon
Nancy BrimPaige HollandPat Schofill
Clara J. Keith BrownGail HumbleAmy Sewell
Amanda BuiceTimi HuntChristopher Shealy
Danielle BurnetteAlvenease JacksonScott Smith
Brian ButeraJanet JohnsonDeshonda Stringer
Ashley ByarsOtis JohnsonKaren Suddeth
Miriam CaldwellStephanie JohnsonBob Swiggum
Randolph CardozaHelaina JollyEmily Thomas
Anthony ChildersJohn JosephsonAllison Timberlake
Tammi ClarkeMichelle KingTravis Townsend
Jason ClaytonCynthia LeeSharquinta Tuggle
Melodie ClaytonJoseph LillybladDavid Turner
James T. CollinsJessica LoiaconoPremkumar Venkatasamy
Bryan CoxLiz LoretiJanzetter Walker
Ann W. CramerFaya MajorBarbara Wall
Leigh Ann CrossKenneth MasonJo Ward
Shari DiamondDarrel MayKenneth or Suzette Weinhardt
Linette DodsonTherese McGuireShannon Weist
Peter DominicisTraci MessierJennie Welch
Jason DowneyAllan MeyerBreanne West
Mari EarlyJeannie MorrisJoAnn Wood
Tamara EchardFrank MullinsRichard Woods
Brenda EdenfieldUpendra NarraJodi-Ann Wray
Joseph EmmaLynn O’HaraRakesh Yadav
Louis ErsteSabine OneillJennifer Zoumberis
Nadine FincherBethani Oppenheimer 

Up to $49

Carly AmblerAnn L. HamnerMarijo Pitts-Sheffield
Kathy AspyLisa HardmanCynthia Popp
Ellen BennettCorrina HarveyEva Porter
Janna BennettDawna HatcherPatricia Rooks
Derwin BinionJoy HatcherAmy Rowell
Angela BivinsMegan HeaphyDeborah Reagin
Jessica BlackleySandy-Asari HoganMargaret Samuel
Tim BrownShernita HowardStephanie Sanders
Nykia BurkeBilly HughesDawn Scott
Debbie H. CaputoLarry HunterBrian Shockley
Matt CardozaBreanne HustonLinsey Shockley
Andrea CatalanoKarma JordanSheila Sims
Vickie ClevelandDeborah Keane – PBIS TeamDonovan Smith
Franeka ColleyTrisha KingSunyoung Song
Caitlin Copan-KellyElizabeth LewisDiana Spangler
Jose CortezWina LowJeanne Starr
Nicole CroomAbhishek MadasJohn Taylor
Viola DarringtonDawn MannBangarraju Thilam
Jayesh DaveMeghan McFerrinEric Thomas
Sandra DeMuthAlicia MercerKimberly Thomas
Amarnath DevarasettyAnne MillerVenkata Satya Sai Sarma Tipparaju
Anisha DonaldPatricha MillerKeisla Tisdel
Caitlin DooleyBenjamin MooreTina Tolen-Harbert
Jody DrumJulie MorrillMm Toler
Jackie DuggerBetty MossKelley Toon
Mary EddlemanAgnes MwangiAree Tyson
Carmen FreemireSrinivas NagarajRaghuram Valusani
Craig GeersHarriett NealMeghan Welch
Amanda GibsonDemetrius NelsonBobbi West
Gladys GloverDiane OchalaSheila White
Valerie GordonKeith OsburnKetris Williams
Sandra GreenePamela OwensKaren Wyler
Hanuman GuntupalliDyani PayneTylisa Young

Georgia Foundation for Public Education Board

Walt Helms, ChairCobb County
Davis Knox, Vice ChairClarke County
Ann W. Cramer, Immediate Past ChairFulton County
Jason Downey, Ex-OfficioBibb County
Al HodgeFloyd County
Otis JohnsonChatham County
Robert “Buzz” LawFulton County
Kenneth MasonFulton County
Shaunae MotleyDougherty County
Paula WeeksCobb County
Jodie SnowTift County


Admin expenses$44,675
The Right Team, Right Time

“Thank you very much to Georgia Foundation for Public Education...I hope you can show this 'model' to other business and education partnerships. It is the innovation that our students need to better secure their futures." --Mark Whitlock, Coweta Schools